Anne Fleming

Dairyman, footman, egg grader

While idly looking up google images of a man my mother dated as a teenager (there were none of the Frank Gerow I was looking for), I happened on this site, the Ontario Vital Statistics Project, which has marriage registries for much of Ontario from 1869-1926. The entries note name, occupation, place of birth, current residence, parents names, witnesses’ names, etc., e.g.,

William Graham BELL, 22, insurance inspector, Ottawa, same, s/o William Fred BELL (b. Canada) & Mary Ellen GRAHAM, married Althea Margaret MORDEN, 24, stenographer, Niagara Falls, same, /o James Cathenor MORDEN (b. Canada) & Mary Maria MORSE, witn: Flora Katherine McCRONKY? of Wallaceburg & Charles Carson MacDONALD of Knox College, 7 Feb 1925

William Henry BELL, 29, footman, England, Government House in Toronto, s/o William Henry BELL (b. England) & Janet GILES, married Elizabeth Cochrane McOUAT, 25, nurse maid, Scotland, 169 Lowther Ave., d/o Thomas McOUAT (b. Scotland) & Annie McADAMS, witn: Esther Leggatt KIRKLAND of 187 St. George St. & Peter McINNES of 30 2nd St. in New Toronto, 14 Feb 1925

Dominic BELLAMACINO, 20, cook, England, 116 1/2 Chestnut St., s/o Nicola BELLAMACINO (b. Italy) & Gaetana CAMILLO, married Rose FRATTAROLI, 17, store clerk, England, 192 Chestnut St., d/o Domenico FRATTAROLI (b. Italy) & Maria BOVI, witn: Raffaele MAGGASONO of 1973 Yonge & Antoinetta FRATTAREL of 1973 Yonge St., 22 Feb 1925 [divorced 25/3/53]

Mandel BERENBAUM, 23, cloak operator, Russia Poland, 73 Oxford St. s/o Pezetz (b. Russia Poland) & Shyfra nee BIZENBOM, married Fanny KURTZ, 19, tailoress, Russia Poland, 62 St. Patrick St., d/o Mendel (b. Russia Poland) & Necha nee GOLD, witn: S. MODT of 8 Sullivan St. & T. NEIMAN of 68 Darcy St., 1 Feb 1925

Edward Philip BERNSTEIN, 28, manager, Ontario, 95 Pleasant Blvd., s/o Max BERNSTEIN (b. Russia) & Esther KOHNGOLD, married Lillian WALDMAN, 25, clerk, Ontario, 208 John St., d/o Louis WALDMAN (b. Russia) & Annie KONIG, witn: William GOLDSTEIN & Abraham McCLAVER, both of Toronto, 17 Feb 1925

It amazes me how much story is inherent in these few details. Some intrigue because the two parties’ names are the same to begin with – so were they cousins marrying each other or widows marrying their brother-in-law or strangers who happened to have the same last name or what?

William George KERNAGHAN, 32, mechanic, widower, Colborne, Toronto, s/o Joseph & Jane, married Sarah J. KERNAGHAN, 27, Colborne, Toronto, d/o William & Eliza, witn: Minnie KERNAGHAN of MacPherson Ave., 24 April 1891 at 84 Summerhill Ave.

Why is it I can spend so much more time poring over these entries than working on the story I should be working on? Hey, I wonder how the immigration patterns change from 1891 to 1925, I’ll say to myself, and then note which countries of origin pop up most frequently (in 1891 England tops the list by far, then Scotland and Ireland, then Ontario, Austria, Russia, etc.; in 1925 Ontario birth-places are twice as many as England, and you see a lot more Poland, Galicia, Italy, and Russia and Roumania than before). How about professions in 1925? Five electricians to three farmers to six salesman to five labourers, three clerks, two stenographers, one blacksmith, porter, milliner, furnace man, brake man, dairy man, footman, egg grader, customs clerk, police constable, fruit grower, shirt maker, brushmaker, electric welder, musician, clergyman, butcher, etc.

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